#1
400 blows is english for the french saying, "les quatre cents coups", meaning 'to raise hell'. also a great movie from 1959 by francois truffaut

400 blows, budapest
eszter is sick so
tonight i hit the ground running solo,
a few hours later and i am alone, shadows
of old Britishers who monitor media publications,
Hungarians who think i don't know the word "turban"
as if i don't know it in every accent
her eyes wander over to me, i meet them,
she looks away, a whisper to the girl next
to her, and the conversation ends rather abruptly,
there's a long-haired drunk-ass receding-hairline Hungarian
asking me from the other table if i agree;
"time is fragile space. space is running time."
i don't understand but it feels significant
and he babbles on about punk-rock, a Pall Mall
in my left and a Dreher in my right
a whole lot of tourists but they probably
read Frommer's Day-to-Day Budapest too.

i'm slumped in the backseat of my taxi with the window open
after taking the "Soviet underground" (as she calls it)
and seeing eszter off at Dohanya ter in Buda,
i've got the one cabbie who doesn't know the New York Palace
and suddenly we're blazing down the Chain Bridge, i sit up straight
with Buda up my ass and Pest at my feet and i feel
just how small this city really is, Erzsébet-híd to my right
and Margit híd to my left and it feels like the Manhattan Bridge
except no big concrete wall of buildings, not so many lights,
no NYPD but that strange old huge building popping up
in your face every once in a while, stops my heart for a second--
i take a deep breath and toss the cabbie 1200 forint
and slam the door behind me

her hair is blonde and her eyes are blue
but she is quite pretty in fact,
my bags are packed when i go to see her for breakfast
the last time for a long time,
it is Monday morning and i am born anew
today i know what i want and am fully prepared
to raise hell to get it, the plane leaves
in a few hours and time is short
New York--
it'll be there quicker than a kiss on the lips and a slap in the face
Last edited by punchupatatigge at Sep 19, 2009,
#3
you mean forints, not firents, yeah?

I loved that I could place myself where you were in this having recently spent a day in Budapest. It gives me the urge to write up what I did there and add another piece to my series. Thank you.
There's only one thing we can do to thwart the plot of these albino shape-shifting lizard BITCHES!
#5
So I read this a few times to digest it and I'll tell you how I interpreted it as (which may or may not be your original intention). I found it to hit upon that refreshing and relieving feeling of returning home after a long time. In the first two stanzas, the narrator feels very disoriented and confused in that there is an obvious communication barrier between him/her and the Hungarians. Moreover, in the taxi ride back to his/her hotel (ironically named the New York Palace) the cabbie has no idea where it is, resulting in a ride around Budapest that triggers many memories in the narrator of his/her hometown. Finally, in the last stanza, you can the narrator slow down, like he/she is taking a breath and this is where I feel the poem shines. There is a regained energy in the voice of the narrator here; he is going to "raise hell" and is prepared to do whatever it takes. This type of rejuvenation upon returning home is extremely relatable to me and I think you hit the nail right on the head with this piece.

Now as for suggestions. There were points in the first couple stanzas where I couldn't grasp the sentence structure very well. There was a rapid pace to those stanzas which was great, however, there were moments when I had to reread things to fully attain their meaning. But that's really all I can see right now.

This was a very well written piece which I enjoyed immensely. The relationship between form and content in here was brilliant, in my opinion.
here, My Dear, here it is
#6
Sorry I didn't make my views clear to you in my first comment. Here are a few bits and bobs that caught my attention.

You used the word 'building' too many times in the middle stanza. I feel that the progression in that stanza from being stuck between Buda and Pest and then the line about the city being small and then you being stuck between the left and right doesn't work.

I didn't like 'but she is quite pretty in fact'. I didn't see any reason for her not to be in the line before and the sharpness of 'fact' was, although refreshing, oddly timed.

But yeah, as I said before , and to put that in more understandable terms, I really love this.
There's only one thing we can do to thwart the plot of these albino shape-shifting lizard BITCHES!
#7
that's a good point, i'm going to check out the repetition in the second stanza.
as far as that line in the third stanza, i was hoping the reader's emphasis would be shifted to "she" as separate from the first line's descriptions. maybe it was a bit oblique, i'll work on it.

i appreciate the kind words as well